Premier League

Mourinho: Chelsea must maintain focus

Chelseas Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho looks on
Jose Mourinho will not be distracted by Chelsea's record against Arsenal.
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Jose Mourinho has played down the significance of his personal stranglehold over Arsene Wenger ahead of Monday's top-of-the-table clash.

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In nine attempts, Wenger's Arsenal has never beaten Mourinho's Chelsea and the 10th meeting takes place with the Christmas Day Premier League summit at stake.

Mourinho's Chelsea have won five and drawn four times in a duel which dates back over nine years, but the Portuguese insisted the sequence is merely because his side has played better on each occasion.

"It's not me against Wenger," said Mourinho, whose side could overtake the Gunners and go top of the standings.

"It's my Chelsea against his Arsenal. And that (the record) doesn't play Monday. It has no influence. That stat, for the game of Monday, means nothing.

"I just feel that we played better, we deserved more and we won these matches.

"In my time I remember just one game where we were close to losing, which was a game at home where (Michael) Essien scored the equalizing goal in the last part of the game (in the December 2006 Premier League draw).

"After that, even at the Emirates, playing with 10 men for 75 minutes we played a fantastic match and we drew 1-1 (in May 2007).

"My memories are that against them we played very good matches. As a consequence of that we got good results."

Chelsea have already won at the Emirates Stadium this season, claiming a 2-0 win in the Capital One Cup two days after beating Manchester City in the Premier League.

Mourinho places no significance on the League Cup win ahead of this season's first Premier League meeting with the Gunners.

"Different competitions, different motivations, different responsibilities, different players in some cases," Mourinho added.

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"Still Arsenal, still Chelsea, still a London derby, plus the fact that the first is playing the third, or the second, whatever you prefer.

"(It is a) big match for sure. It's a pity that it's not tomorrow (Saturday) because I'm waiting for the game and I'm ready to play the game and I want very much to play the game."

Given his record, Wenger may not be so keen to play, while Ashley Cole will require a late reprieve in order to feature.

Mourinho refused to publicly criticize Cole for attending Arsenal's Christmas party, but does not plan to select the England left-back at the Emirates Stadium.

On Monday, Cole will be "on the bench or at home", Mourinho confirmed.

Mourinho added: "From the beginning Ashley's not playing, (but) today is Friday, the game is Monday. Something can happen in between.

"I play (Branislav) Ivanovic right-back, I play (Cesar) Azpilicueta left-back. I play John Terry and I have to choose between (Gary) Cahill and David (Luiz)."

On the Christmas party, Mourinho added: "I have my opinion, but I keep (it to) myself. It was a free day for them, so I'm not a father, I'm a manager, and I can't control what they do when they are not with me."

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